The Claudia Quintet
contemporary jazz with classical & world music influence
This American band, led by drummer/composer John Hollenbeck, has been described as “eclectic post-jazz”. Perhaps that’s accurate, as the packet that sounds simultaneously light and intense includes jazz improvisation, chamber and modern classical elements, thematic and serial concepts á la Terry Riley and Steve Reich, some world music influences, and a warm sense of humour that bubbles underneath it all.
Having worked with Kenny Wheeler, Bob Brookmeyer and Meredith Monk, to name a few, Hollenbeck started the Claudia Quintet at the start of the millennium after his mighty Refuseniks trio folded. He named the band after a young woman, who promised in a lengthy monologue to follow the Refuseniks everywhere and then never showed up.
The Claudia Quintet has done four fine albums. The sound varies from playful through cerebral to bitter sweetly emotional and gets its unique colour from the fact that its three main solo instruments – vibraphone, accordion and clarinet – are seldom, if ever, heard side by side in the same band.